Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today's scary Halloween tale comes to us care of Ricky's Costume Shop. This isn't new news, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share, considering the holiday. You can check out the gruesome story here about a disturbing Halloween costume--Anna Rexia. 

The moral of this ghostly tale? We know we still have more work to do on the education front when it comes to eating disorders. The good news? Ricky's responded quickly, pulled the costume off the market and apologized... 

Hope you all enjoy your day- be safe! :-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


"I'm not smart enough." "I can't do this." "She is so much better than I am." "I wish I were prettier." "I feel so fat." 

Have you ever had thoughts like these??

I'm pretty sure we can all relate to having had thoughts similar to these at one time or another. For some of us, these negative thoughts can be a bit more persistent. In light of the recent celebration that was Fat Talk Free Week, a lesson that came up a few weeks ago at Girls on the Run, and a great article I read yesterday on fat talk, another post on conquering negativity and self-defeating thoughts seemed appropriate.

Girls on the Run is one of the things that I look forward to each week. I love the chance to spend time with these determined, smart, silly girls in my group! One of my favorite Girls on the Run lessons we have done so far this season was one a few weeks ago that educated the girls about negative self-talk. We spent some time talking about negative thoughts, and then learned/practiced how to re-frame them. This is something that I often do with my clients! The really fun part was that the girls came up with a noise to use whenever they hear someone fat-talking, or using negative words about themselves (or others) while with the group. They couldn't decide if they liked making 'quacking' noises or 'buzzing' noises better- ducks or bees :). So we let them use both. Imagine 15 8-12 year olds, bzzzz-ing and quacking at the top of their lungs, practicing how to respond to negative self-talk while loving every minute of it. It was fun. 

What I love about this idea of responding to negativity with noise is the intentionality of it. So often, people ask how they are ever going to change their thinking patterns... the negative thoughts can feel so overwhelming. This is true- they can feel very overwhelming, especially considering that our thoughts impact how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves impacts how we act and behave! Our thoughts create a ripple effect. Because thoughts are automatic, we tend to feel discouraged when these little negative thoughts pop up- especially when we are trying so hard to be positive! The first step though is to become aware of these thoughts as they pop up, so that you might be able to replace them with more positive, encouraging and most of all, truthful thoughts! This idea of responding with noise is a great idea because it is very purposeful, and it is something that is memorable. While you don't have to 'bzzz' at yourself (you can if you want to though!), maybe you can brainstorm and pick an intentional way of responding to your negative thoughts, so that you have a greater awareness of them and can act to re-frame and make them more positive! Some people like to write their negative thoughts down, and re-frame them via journaling. Then when those negative thoughts appear, they can use their 'go-to' re-framed positive thought(s), and replace! The important thing is that you find a method that works for you. Most of all- don't get discouraged. Working to change negative thoughts takes time. Change doesn't happen overnight. Be patient with the process, and if you are having trouble managing the negative thoughts, consider seeking counseling!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Your Body Day!

Guess what today is?? It's Love Your Body Day!! (hosted by the NOW Foundation- National Organization for Women). I read something this morning that really impacted me, and I felt like it was important to share, especially in light of today's Body Holiday:). End Fat Talk posted this on their facebook page today: 

We asked Muffy Davis, Athlete and Inspirational Speaker, Stanford, what advice she would offer to other women about liking themselves inside and out. Here's what she said:

"My mom told me when I was 16, right after I became paralyzed, some advice that has helped me throughout my life. She told me that I am not my legs, who I am and my value as a person is not determined by my physical body but by my spirit. And she told me that while my body may be broken, my spirit was perfect and whole! That was one of the most important bits of advice she has passed on to me and I would love to share that with every woman. WE are much more than our physical shells, our spirits are perfect and ready to shine!"

Muffy's attitude and spirit are exactly what we celebrate today. We are not defined by our physical bodies, and yet, when I read this, I can't help but be reminded how often I take my body for granted! Our bodies serve many very important functions, and I think the media images that we see betray our belief that our bodies are not just for appearances sake. In honor of this day, make a list- either on a piece of paper, or just a mental one- of the top 5 things you are thankful that your body can do. Rather than beating yourself up over what you would like to change about your body, focus on the positive, and focus on what you love! And don't forget-- this is something that you can do everyday, not just on Love Your Body Day :).

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival, which you can check out by following this link.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are You A Life-Giver??

As I mentioned in my last post, Fat Talk Free Week is upon us! It officially began yesterday. I have posted in the past about FTFW (here, here, here, here, here and here- haha) and believe this week provides a special opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of eliminating fat talk!! For those of you who are new to FTFW, here is a video which provides a little bit more info.

If you skip over the video (it's worth watching, I promise!!), what you need to know first is what fat talk is! Fat talk consists of comments that focus on our bodies, ourselves or others in a negative light. In fact, fat talk can even transcend body talk and can really be any old negative comment you make about yourself. Examples of fat talk: "I feel fat"... "I need to lose __ #of pounds" ... "She should not be wearing that" ... "You look good, have you lost weight?"... "My butt looks huge." ... Sound familiar?? 

When I was at church on Sunday, the pastor was talking about how we can choose to be people who give life to others. That really resonated with me, and I believe that when we interact with people, we have an opportunity to encourage and inspire-- which are things that give life! We can be life-givers with our words and our actions. In light of Fat Talk Free Week, I was thinking about how we have the power to be life-givers by choosing our words carefully and filling others with encouraging and positive thoughts (life!) instead of negative ones- whether those thoughts deal with our bodies or other things. I know that I want to be someone who gives life to others, that after someone has spent time with me, he or she feels encouraged, refreshed, uplifted. I don't want to be negative in a way that causes other people to question or doubt themselves because of the comments I might be making about me or my body. I think women often bond by bashing their bodies to each other-- this only fuels negative feelings and actions, and it doesn't produce a spirit of encouragement! 

The point? Try to eliminate fat talk from your dialogue- whether its an internal dialogue or in your daily conversations with others. Choose to be a life-giver, choose to be someone who makes others feel more alive and full after having spent time around you, simply because of your attitude and how you use your words. If you are interested in signing Fat Talk Free Week's pledge, follow this link.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of my favorite parts about blogging is connecting with my readers. I get some really great emails from some pretty great people. Just this week, one of my readers sent me an email about an article she had read- one that I missed. I'm so glad she brought it to my attention. It's pretty alarming.

The front page of USA Today's lifetime section boasted the following stats-

"USA Today Snapshot: Medical providers rank parent-child health discussions by importance:

Weight= 90%
Safe Sex= 73%
Cigarette Smoking= 73%
Drug Use= 72%
Alcohol= 68%"

Maybe there wouldn't be as many STD's and teen pregnancies if safe sex discussions were prioritized as highly as weight. These stats are really reflective of the culture at large- weight is important, and it really, really matters. It is important to be healthy yes, and it is important that we know how to care for ourselves and for our bodies. There is certainly a place for good health. However, it is a little shocking to see that medical providers value weight discussions over safe sex, drug use, alcohol and cigarette smoking! This is a good reality check, right in time for Fat Talk Free Week which is approaching right around the corner.

I read a really amazing blog post the other day that I tweeted- (I just recently jumped back on the twitter wagon again- if you're interested, you can follow me here for ED related articles, info, quotes, etc. I don't get too crazy with twitter, but it's been fun to connect). Anyways- here is the link to the blog I mentioned. Below is an excerpt:

I think that one of the most damaging and erroneous messages that we are given by society is that unless you’re thin, you will never be enough.  Sure you won a Grammy for your first CD and an Oscar for your first film, but are you thin?  I understand that you are the governor of a state and that people want you to run for President, but are you thin? You’re thin now so we expect you to maintain that obsessively so that you are never not thin.  You eat nourishing foods and move your body regularly, but are you thin? You’re a great mother but are you thin?  You’re a successful business person but are you thin? You’re 4 years old but are you thin? You’re 90 years old but are you thin? You cured cancer but are you thin?


You are already enough.  Your intrinsic value is already beyond measure.  And you will not be more valuable if there is less of you or less valuable if there is more of you.

Isn't that great? I love that. To read more follow this link. Hope everyone is having a great weekend! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day!

I blog for World Mental Health Day
Today, Monday, October 10, marks World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) created this day as an opportunity to increase awareness about mental health, especially as the lack of attention that mental illness receives around the world interferes with people being properly treated. Psych Central, a great psychology resource online, has encouraged bloggers to get involved and promote understanding and awareness via a blogging party! I'm all for a blogging party, especially on a Monday:) Fun times.

Back in May, I wrote about National Mental Health Counseling Week and shared some stats with you. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 4 American adults ages 18 and up suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year- 26.2% of the country's population, to be exact. What this means is that it is likely that either you or someone that you know and love dearly has been touched by mental illness. Beyond the US, statistics from the World Health Organization (here) indicate that the resources available to treat people all over the world are inadequate. That goes for the US as well as abroad.

In the field of eating disorders, many strides are being made daily as it relates to education and raising awareness. If you look back, even recently in the media, Yoplait Yogurt pulling ads that were triggering and insensitive to viewers was a huge step in acknowledging the complexity of eating disorders, and that dieting can and does trigger EDs in some people.  Communities all over the country have been participating in National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walks to raise awareness and funds to support continued research. You can read a re-cap of the Raleigh NEDA Walk here

The conversations that are happening today are so important, because change comes out of awareness, dialogue and then action. Just like recovery from an eating disorder, awareness is not enough to bring about change. One doesn't choose an eating disorder, but one must choose to recover from the eating disorder. Action is required for healing to take place, and often this is the toughest part! In thinking about World Mental Health Day, whether you or someone you know has struggled with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or another illness, what action might you take to raise awareness today? 

To check out the blogging party going on today over at Psych Central, follow this link!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gratitude and Girls on the Run!!!

I often write about gratitude on my blog because it is something that I believe is a very important and crucial practice... so I was really excited when I found out that one of the lessons for this week's Girls on the Run practice was all about gratitude!! I have alluded in recent posts to my volunteer commitment, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Along with two other coaches, I am leading a group of 16 girls (3rd-5th graders) two times a week through a character building curriculum that is designed to promote self-esteem, self-respect and confidence.  Volunteering is something that I value for the way it promotes self-esteem, a sense of self and of course service to others:), and while I have had to make some adjustments in order to fit these weekly practices into my schedule, it has been beyond worth the sacrifice! These girls are fabulous in so many ways, and remind me how important it is for us to encourage and support girls from a young age in order to protect them from the messages that they pick up around them concerning what it means to be a girl, what it means to be beautiful, etc..

On Tuesday, we discussed how important it is to reflect on the things that we are grateful for in our lives, and why its so important to live with an attitude of gratitude. No matter how old you are or what you have lived through and experienced, this is one lesson that always seems to be relevant :)
Some things the girls were thankful for:
  • Family, Friends, Pets
  • Lunch and Recess at School :-)
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Clothes
  • The list may have been more extensive (and funny), but for the sake of this post, I won't include all of it! 
Some things that I am 
grateful for:

Life!! Stephanie, my new friend and fellow coach, is pregnant & the girls wanted to see if they could feel her baby kick. We're all so blessed to be alive. I know that I take that for granted- and when I remember how fortunate I am to be alive, I start to appreciate things around me more, the people around me and the moments in my life that might otherwise pass me by.

How cute are these two? Olivia and Adeline are two of our Girls on the Run and got a little sassy with the camera. (Don't worry, parents signed photo releases at the beginning of the season!!) I'm so thankful for laughter and fun to lighten things up. While laughter may not always be the best medicine, I think it comes pretty close :-)

Challenges! Ok- so this one might sound a little odd. But I believe that the challenging times we go through shape us in important ways, teach us about our inner strength and beauty, and provide us opportunities to develop character. Challenges aren't easy, which is why they're called challenges:) But without the challenges, we might not appreciate the fun, carefree times as much without them! Whatever challenges you face today, remember that you are not alone, that you are strong, and are alive- practicing gratitude can help you to get through the tough moments.

I am so thankful for the opportunity that I've had over the last 4 weeks to work with such amazing girls, and look forward to the next 8 weeks!! If you are interested in learning more about Girls on the Run, or are interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities if you live in or around Raleigh NC, follow this link. Girls on the Run was founded by Molly Barker in Charlotte, NC, but there are chapters all over the country. To find one in your neighborhood, follow this link

Below is a little video that I thought would be fun to leave you with- this isn't my Girls on the Run team, but this clip features different teams from a few years back. It's very sweet- you should check it out! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Summer Reading Check-In... :-)

Me :)
Happy October!! Now that Fall is here, this might be a good time for me to check back in with my (nerd alert!) summer reading list, which can be found here. I didn't end up reading all of the books on my list (yet)- I still have 2 that I haven't read and a bunch of new ones... thanks to Borders and their going out of business sale. Because you may or may not be interested in my book reviews of all of these books, I thought I would just jot a few key points down- if you are interested in hearing more, shoot me an email!

While I could probably go on for awhile, I won't :) I would encourage you to check out some of these books if any of these topics appeal to you- if you are looking for something that is not on my list (that is related to topics I discuss on my blog), let me know and I might be able to direct you to an appropriate resource addressing the particular topic. And, if you have read any books recently that you recommend, please let me know! My reading doesn't end just because the summer did. :)